For Friday exploring I thought I’d take a trip down Huaihai Middle Road. Mainly because I’d heard there’s a Mothercare flagship store there and I wanted to find a swim nappy for my youngest boy. So far I have not found these anywhere in any store in Shanghai. I looked on the map and found it was walkable up through West Fuxing Road, so off I set. It wasn’t a difficult walk, only one major life-taken-into-hands road crossing and there I was. I walked past a park and a Starbucks and several interesting looking eateries and then there, glimmering gold through the leaves on the trees – Gucci and then Versace and Prada. I think passers by must have thought I was rather odd as I stopped in my tracks and a huge grin spread across my face.
I love fashion, I love reading about it, I love looking at it. I love hearing about trends and designers. However, due to my limited budget and access to a city, I’ve always been more of a high street shopper. Plus, I’m not proud of it but I’m a bit of a quantity over quality kind of girl. When I was a teenager my Mum used to say to me ‘not another little top’ when I returned from a Topshop-centric shopping trip and things have not changed much!
I followed the smell of perfume and cash into the IAPM shopping mall and found Alexander McQueen, Miu Miu and my personal favourite Stella McCartney. The stores were beautiful – fixtures and fittings sturdy and glitzy and the shop assistants immaculate with just the right level of self importance. Having worked in retail in one form or another my entire adult life it was a site to behold, a jewel in the crown of the fashion retail industry and I was drunk on its gold and velvety gloriousness. The one thing that really struck me though was that all these stores were completely empty. There was no one shopping in any of them. Possibly because one purchase a month would yield enough profit to sustain their costs and cover their rent in that flashy mall.
After some time drinking it all in I retreated to the safety of H&M across the street and spent a small amount of money on a large number of items (including several little tops), followed by Starbucks for a large, sugary latte. Walking back home past the gold thrones in the window of Dolce & Gabbana I promised myself…one day!
…oh and no swim nappies in Mothercare on Huaihai Middle Road, in fact nothing much of use to parents of children over the age of one. The search continues.